For Immediate Release: Dec. 8, 2011
Contact: Carmen Fenton, 512-469-0171
FORT WORTH, TEXAS – Texas ranchers and landowners scored a win today after the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act (H.R. 1633), introduced by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.). H.R. 1633 was introduced in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) attempt to regulate agriculture dust at naturally occurring levels.
H.R. 1633 exempts agriculture dust if state and local authorities have already implemented dust control measures. In areas where there are no state or local dust control measures, H.R. 1633 requires the EPA to prove substantial health effects and show how addressing those effects outweigh the economic costs of implementing more stringent regulations.
“This legislation is a big win for Texas ranchers and landowners,” said Joe Parker Jr., a rancher from Byers, Texas, and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) president. “Regulating agriculture dust without any scientific proof that it is harmful to human health would have had devastating economic impacts on the Texas cattle industry.”
Although the EPA recently announced that it had no intentions of regulating agriculture dust, Parker says this legislation was necessary to keep the EPA accountable in the future. H.R. 1633 puts in law that there must be sound science to back up such harmful and overreaching regulation.
While particulate matter, or dust, is considered a pollutant under the Clean Air Act, the EPA considered regulating dust at a level twice as stringent as the current level—putting areas primarily located in rural parts of the country where dust naturally occurs on the hook for expensive and unnecessary federal regulation.
The potential revision went so far that the new standard could have been below naturally occurring levels of dust in some states, making it impossible to meet.
The legislation now heads to the U.S. Senate where it has already received bipartisan support from 26 Senators.
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is a 134-year-old trade organization. As the largest and oldest livestock association in Texas, TSCRA represents more than 15,000 beef cattle producers, ranching families and businesses who manage approximately 4 million head of cattle on 75.9 million acres of range and pasture land, primarily in Texas and Oklahoma. TSCRA provides law enforcement and livestock inspection services, legislative and regulatory advocacy, industry news and information, insurance services and educational opportunities for its members and the industry.